Community collaboration is one of our best problem-solving tools personally and professionally.

Community Collaboration — 3 Ways to Use This Problem-Solving Tool Effectively

“Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” – Vince Lombardi

How many teams do you belong to? I venture to say many more than you realize!  In the broadest sense, when we interact and collaborate with one other person, we are part of a team. Therefore, as family members, as coworkers, as best friends, in neighborhood or community settings or in our involvement with various organizations, we form teams that need community collaboration to flourish. 

In life and business, if we want to accomplish the most good and avoid the worst frustration, we need to develop a team collaboration mindset. Too often, people approach their work with others through adversarial eyes that are clouded by jealousy, competition, and self-promotion. This is not surprising, since these characteristics have been fostered by the hierarchical managerial models of yesteryear. And for some, the thinking remains that if you want to get ahead you have to look out for Number 1, yourself. 

As a society, we’re being challenged like no other time in recent history. If you’re feeling frustrated, isolated, or helpless to affect real change, I urge you to embrace the power of community collaboration! It’s one of our most potent problem-solving power tools. 

Here are three ways you can learn to value a community collaboration mindset:

1. Community Collaboration promotes social learning.

We learn better when we interact within a community—asking questions and testing solutions on actual problems—all in real-time. Psychologists call this phenomenon social learning

Social learning is learner-centric, which means that it shifts the focus of instruction from the teacher to the learner. More collaboration and interaction between learners leads to a higher impact, which is partly due to social influence and can serve to reinforce memory.

 And don’t forget, with today’s technology you can meet virtually, so your community doesn’t need to be limited geographically. 

2. Community Collaboration encourages creativity and innovation.

A collaborative approach combines the knowledge, experience, and creativity of the entire group. While this isn’t always easy, there are some significant benefits that come from collaboration, even when it’s hard or seemingly inefficient. For example, people will often discover new insights, increase their capacity for innovation, and become more committed and passionate about community decisions. This is highlighted in one of my favorite structures for a collaborative community — a Community of Practice.

3. Community Collaboration creates leaders.

Collaborative communities are a safe environment where everyone feels comfortable speaking up and allowing the best ideas to surface and shine. Every group has people that are more experienced than others in various areas. By giving them channels to share their knowledge and expertise, even members who are usually reserved will begin to step up and grow as leaders

Can you see how approaching any problem from these 3 vantage points…

    • being a listener and learner, 
    • contributing to the synergy of the group’s creativity, and 
    • letting each person’s expertise shine

…creates a winning situation that allows the best solutions to emerge?

This is the very essence of problem-solving through community collaboration. It works so well because it’s a flexible system that allows for the unique and individual needs of each situation. 

Still not convinced? Then consider a few of the many benefits of community collaboration… 

Your stress level reduces because you’re not always in the fight-or-flight mode of the high-power corporate world. You feel more at peace with yourself and others. You don’t have to constantly prove yourself, because you’re functioning as a unit, which disperses the weight of responsibility upon many shoulders, not just yours. 

If you’d like more information about how social learning principles can help you professionally and personally, I invite you to sign up for my email series, Social Learning Spaces for Teams. It’s just a taste of the upcoming Masterclass I’m preparing for you.

Community Mindset

Louise J Santiago, PhD
Executive Coach and Organizational Consultant

Where Leadership is Intentional Work

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